Does Your Business Smell Like a Dirty Old Cab?

Welcome to a new age of doing business. The information age started dying in 2010 and it’s finally kicked the bucket for good. Why does that matter? Because we as a society always place value on the our current age: In the Agricultural Age farmers were the wealthiest people around. During the Manufacturing Age factory workers were the wealthiest. right around 1965 – 1970 the Information Age was born and the wealthiest people have been those with the most information. This era also showed the biggest increase in college enrollments, authors became millionaires on 1 great book, and entrepreneurs who could educate or teach someone something they lacked would thrive. But put on your best black suit or dress and mourn all you like – the information age is dead.

So what is the new age? This is the age of collaboration. Those who have created systems to collaborate efforts, team up with their competition, and realize you don’t even need to have a product or service anymore – you just have to represent a bunch of people with a great product or service already – these are the people who will become the wealthiest in this age.

Here’s a perfect example of something that just happened in Tampa this week and is currently disrupting an industry in 19 other cities that, until now, has enjoyed an easy ride of wealth.

Cabs. Let’s face it. Nobody likes riding in a cab. The cars are dirty and smelly. The drivers are rude and in many cases prey on people with a lack of information (remember what I said above about information? Cabbies know all the short cuts and the long ways to get there. That information has made them more money than if they just took the appropriate routes) and rip them off. 3 days ago a company has come to Tampa which is upsetting the cab industry. They are writing down license plates and calling the police to report something which is completely legal and there is nothing they can do to stop them. People from all over the city are now picking up total strangers and giving them a ride. And the cost? Nothing other than a donation of your choice.

The system is called LYFT (pronounced Lift), and it’s an app available on all smart phones.


It’s a collaborative business. You install the app on your phone and when you want a ride somewhere you summon a Lyft. Then anyone who is a registered driver with Lyft gets an alert if they are in your area. They have the option of accepting your request or rejecting it. Within seconds there is someone who has a nice clean car in your area who is willing to take you where you want to go. You sit in the front seat, have great conversation, don’t have to have a pocket of cash on you (because the app stores your credit card information), and you don’t need to mess with some cabbie giving you attitude when you hand them a credit card. You get out of the car, don’t have a financial transaction, and you go about your day. The app signals you when the ride is over. It asks if you would like to make a recommended donation to the driver (determined by GPS distance from the app). You can agree to pay the suggested donation, you can pay less or nothing at all, or you can pay more to tip them and display an act of kindness. You also get to rate the driver on a 5 star scale and write a comment that future riders can read about, and the driver who gave you the Lyft gets to rate you as well. (so if you are a total tight-wad and stiff them a donation people will hear about that too and very soon your reputation of being a cheapskate will catch up with you and nobody will want to pick you up – then you’ll have to call a cab (barf).

This is what a collaborative business is all about and it’s going to destroy the way cabbies do business… in fact, it will put most of them out of business and they deserve it because they’ve had far too long providing terrible service for outrageous prices. (Yeah yeah yeah… there are a few good ones out there… don’t worry, they are smart enough to register as a Lyft driver and starting using their own car.)

Now just in case you are thinking that collaboration won’t disrupt your industry here’s a few more references…

Kickstarter is replacing banks for business loans.
Paypal is replacing merchant accounts for small businesses that were too small accept credit cards.
GPS systems collaborate to tell you when traffic is jammed up so you can restructure your route or avoid paying high transportation fees with cabbies who love traffic jams.
Affiliate payment systems like ClickBank are replacing full time telemarketers
Elance is eliminating the need for full time employees sitting around wasting your time and money while they play on facebook.
Facebook is eliminating the need for the post office sending letters to far away relatives
What’s App is eliminating the need to have high data plans on monopoly cell phone companies trying to charge per message.
Yelp is eliminating the need for food critics
YouTube is eliminating the need for Network Television Studios
99Designs is eliminating the need for high cost graphic designers
WordPress Templates eliminate the need for custom web design

3d_book_collaboration_economy_lowresIf you think your industry is immune to collaboration disrupting business as usual then it won’t be long before you no longer have a business.

If you would like to learn more about the Collaboration Age, then you can get a copy of my book, “Collaboration Economy” for FREE while it is still in the pre-order stage. Book will be released full price starting May 6. Until then, you can get yours for simply the cost of postage.

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